how to take advantage of home warrantee in first year

Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)December 12, 2012

Does anyone have any advice about how to best use the home warranty we got when we purchased our house this year?
We moved in and found out:
* that the garage door doesn't work -- to a greater extent than the inspection said
* that there is more asbestos in the place than was originally detected by the inspector (we had the first bout removed)
*that there is a big leak under the kitchen sink
*that the newly-installed bathroom granite is unsealed and possibly incorrectly installed
*that the "resurfaced" kitchen sink and tile was actually just PAINTED and is now chipping away, probably at danger of ingestion.
* that the pipe water that the seller said was NOT brown actually is brown.

Is it best to contact the warranty company directly or do we get a third party involved? Like from the show, Holmes Inspection? What would that person called? Maybe... a "Forensic Contractor" or "Warranty Home Ispector?"

We are in the Los Angeles area, if anyone has anyone to recommend.

Is it relevant if the seller misled us or if the inspector(s) missed anything? ...Or is it all covered anyway?

I would appreciate any advice or experience you are willing to share. Thanks!

This post was edited by babyg on Wed, Dec 12, 12 at 17:25

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You might want to talk to your attorney about any misrepresentation on the part of the seller. Typically the liability for "errors" on the part of the home inspector is limited to the fee he/she charged (read your contract).

I don't know much about home warranties but from what I do know they don't seem like they're likely to be writing you a big check. Typically there is deducible for each problem and are likely to cover things that are actually "broken." They're not likely to cover things like incorrect installations or peeling paint.

If you want, you can describe each of your problems in greater detail and if possible include pictures. Members here can help you fix them.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 4:59PM
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Home warranties aren't for fixing already identified pre-existing issues. Those are yours to pay for. Everything that you listed that the inspector identified, that's on your nickel. Home warranties are to maybe fix a water heater or an AC condenser that breaks unexpectedly---but only after you pay the deductible. Most aren't worth the paper they are printed on.

You need to develop some DIY skills and to also find a trusted contractor so that you can hack at that list a little at a time.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 9:01PM
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It is best if you consult an attorney for legal advice.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 6:53PM
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Assuming these were not found at inspection and developed after you took possession, home warranties usually only cover systems not surfaces. So plumbing leaks (but not the drywall after the plumber tears it up), possibly the garage door. Not the sink, granite, or tile. No idea about the pipe water.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:14AM
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Sophie Wheeler

None of the things you mention are covered by a home warranty unless the damage is due to sudden catastrophic failure.

Yes, if you have a sudden windstorm that damages the garage door, that would be covered. No it's an ongoing issue that was mentioned as a problem in the inspection report.

No to asbestos removal at all under most warranties. It's excluded.

If the leak under the sink was sudden and overnight, then possibly it might cover getting a plumber out to repair it, but after the $500 deductible, but the plumber's fee is probably less than that. If the leak has done enough damage, and it was sudden, then your homeowner's insurance would probably cover that. But, neither the warranty nor your homeowners will cover damage from a leak that's been ongoing. That's neglect to not have addressed it.

The granite issue won't be covered by anyone, including the company that did the work because the home ownership has changed hands. The usual one year warranty on workmanship is only to the original owner. And sealing granite is a simple DIY job.

The tile and sink issue just means it's time to plan a kitchen redo. It's NOT a risk of ingestion. Or, it shouldn't be, because you shouldn't prepare food on counters or in your sink. You should always use a cutting board or colander.

Brown water in pipes just means you probably have rusted galvanized pipes and it's probably time to replace them. No warranty or insurance will cover that either.

Part of owning a home is maintaining that home. It sounds as though this home has some age to it and was poorly maintained. It also sounds as though you are a first time homeowner with little DIY ability. The only way that you can remain having little DIY ability is to pay for contractors to come and fix the problems. That quickly gets expensive for all kinds of minor issues. You've got several issues though that should only be handled by professionals, and you should begin to budget to handle those issues immediately or several of them could become disastrously worse!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 3:31PM
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